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Vrod-less...........
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I just read in another thread that you should check the oil cold. Is this true? I have always checked oil warm or hot. Someone please clarify the way it should be.:confused:
 

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I think the owner's manual says to check the oil hot. The sticker on the side of the gas tank says to check the oil hot. The shop manual says to check the oil either hot or cold. Note that the levels hot and cold differ. Measure to the top of the dipstick when the oil's hot. Measure to the mid-point if the oil's cold.

Oil expands as it gets to operating temperature. I've found that on my V-Rod, I get about 1/4 qt difference betwen hot and cold oil checks. Figure in the fact that my V-Rod holds about 1/4 - 1/2 qt. of oil that doesn't drain down to the sump for several hours and the difference is about 1/2 - 3/4qt. difference.

I check my oil cold because I believe I get a more accurate reading that way. All the oil has drained down into the sump and oil temperature is more consistent rather than figure out if the oil is merely warm or at operating temperature and if that makes a difference in oil volume.
 

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Tired of the crap
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You can certainly check the oil when hot - but you need to wait at least two minutes after shutting off the engine to allow (most) of the oil to drain back down into the crankcase. The "hot" check requires that the engine be at "normal operating temperature" - I would take this to mean that the engine had run long enough to turn on the radiator fan, or for approx. 180 deg. to appear on your oil temp. dipstick. And, the bike really should be level for either check - for me, this means putting it on a lift.

In order to get the most consistently accurate results (i.e. - pretty much all the oil has drained down into the crankcase) its probably best to do the cold check, rather than the hot check.

Also: after adding oil (hot or cold), remember the caution to wait at least three minutes before checking the level again. This will allow any added oil to fully drain down, and will prevent false readings.
 

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On page 81 of my '03 Owner's Manual it says:

"CAUTION. The oil level cannot be accurately measured on a cold engine" and then proceeds to explain that it should be approximately at the midpoint of the cross-hatched area when cold.

Just FYI, I'm not sure why they say it.
 

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Lift up the seat and it says check oil when refueling. Unless you ran out of gas and pushed it really far it will probably be warm or hot when you check it.(I am being a smart a$$)
Yes, warm or at least before the oil has a chance to settle thereby draining the filter down and giving a false reading.
BobT
 

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Tired of the crap
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BobT said:
Lift up the seat and it says check oil when refueling. Unless you ran out of gas and pushed it really far it will probably be warm or hot when you check it
And unless you happen to keep a gas pump in your garage, it means you will probably be checking it at a gas station - where they very rarely keep a motorcycle lift handy so that the bike is "upright (not leaning on sidestand)."

Sure - if you are out on the road, its probably not a bad idea to check your oil when you gas up - but you are most likely not going to get as accurate a reading as you would with the bike on a lift. And whats worse about checking it at gas stations, is that many times you aren't going to find that they have a suitable motorcycle oil sitting on the shelves. So if you are a little low, you end up substituting diesel engine lubricant, etc.

The Service Manual recommends doing an oil level check:

  • As part of the pre-ride inspection
  • At every scheduled service interval
  • At every fuel stop
Lets be honest here, and say that probably no-one really follows that 100% of the time. So I make my oil check part of the pre-ride inspection (which I guess I do every two or three days) - and in this case the oil is cold - so I follow the cold engine procedure. I've got my lift, plenty of funnels, towels, and a couple of quarts of Syn3 handy - just in case I do need to add a little.
 

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SNAFU
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Wow, you guys are really anal about checking your oil ;) I check it as a matter of course every 2nd or 3rd ride, usually warm / hot and I put 2x4 under the jiffy stand to level it. If it's in the crosshatch I ride. If it's at the bottom I add 1/2 qt then ride.

As for adding at a gas station that shouldn't be a problem unless you're on a long distance ride and will be going another 500 miles before you get home. Heck, It's a 5 quart system, you could be 1.5 quarts down and not have a problem, if it's still in the crosshatch area then make a mental note to top it off when you get home. Even if you needed oil at a gas station just put in a high grade syn or standard depending on what's already in there. All modern oils will mix and the 10% blend isn't going to make any significant difference, especially since it's going into dirty oil.

BTW, on my bike I had minimal usage @ 1000 miles and it's still in the middle of the crosshatch after another 2000. That reminds me, it's time for an oil change ;) My oil change schedule is 2500 - 3500 depending on conditions and my degree of laziness ;) I've been using that formula for every bike I've ever owned and I've never had an oil related failure.
 

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durata membro
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I can hardley ever find a paper towel or water at a pump island.You kill me with the lift thing.I normally check every thing every other day. I've noticed that the tires tend to be lower at times than others.I always check the oil cold.Even on the jiffy stand once I learned the level.



Elrod on the V-Rod
 

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Biker Pilot
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Anyone else check the oil while sitting on the bike? I normally sit on the bike with a paper towel, reach down and check the oil while keeping the bike upright...no lift in my garage.
 

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Color me Gone
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Crash I tried that but found that I could check the oil three times and get three different results. When I first got the bike I checked the oil all the time until I discovered that my bike just does not use any oil. I also change oil every 1000-1500 miles. So now I check my oil while the bike is on the stand when I clean it about once a week. By using the jack I get the exact same results every time I check it.

If you are afraid you have oil consumption then you can't check your oil enough. But I do suggest that before you add oil or think that your engine might have a problem to find one spot that can be duplicated over and over and check and mark your dipstick at that point. Then before you overfill or think you have a problem make sure to confirm it with your known checking spot that gives the same results each time.
 

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Ghost Rider
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Heck, I f I were to follow the sticker under the seat, I would have checked my oil 5 times just on Sunday (long ride!). I checekd it before leaving the house and then on Mondaymorning (trying to simulate the same conditions). No change noted.

I need some of those really long arms so I don't have to us ehte 2x4 I do now..........
 

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Geezer
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I'm with Max. If it just doesn't use any oil, (I've never had to add any) check it on the weekends. Thats two-three tanks of gas for me. I'm thinking about buying a bottle of HD Syn, though, just to have some around.
 

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V-Rod Addict
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I purchased the chrome dip stick with VROD on it. Damn that thing gets hot when trying to check the oil. I've burned my hands more than a few times and thats even using a paper tower on top of it. Damn fingerless gloves! :)
 

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Geezer
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PS: never check the oil with the engine running.........
 

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Be reasonable. Everyone dissing me for reading off the bike. He asked. And that is what I do. I explained it once before,I do not remember if it was on this forum though.If you can't hold up the bike with one hand and check the oil you had too much to drink. ;)
I do not do it all the time.
What I did was this............
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I put the bike on the lift, had it leven and completely up to the fill line.
I closed up the bike , let it off the lift, took it for a ride(about 9 miles) brought it back into my shop.
Pulled out the dipstick,cleaned it, (while about 2 minutes have passed), and re-checked the level. I then made a slight scribe with a hacksaw blade at that level(this was done with the bike on level ground but on the jiffy stand ,handlebars to the left (makes a difference).
This works for me. I have not used oil either in the 9,926 miles I put on last year.
I was not trying to be a smart A.
I forgot to add this later and did not come back to read-on........
Sorry,
BobT
 

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Ted
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Also, when I was having oil problems, HD always wanted me to run the bike at least 7 miles before they/I checked the oil. Guess it was to make sure oil had circulated everywhere it should have by then. Then we would wait at least 5 minutes before we would take the readings.
 

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Another question, do you screw in the dip stick when you check it or just set it on top.

I have the one with the temp gage on it, and it's almost impossible to read so I always get the OE dip stick and use it. At least I can see the oil level on that one.

I too sit on my bike and check it that way but I screw mine all the way in and since I run 5 quarts, and change it every 3000 miles, I am usually over by about a 1/4 inch all the time. Never have lost or burn any oil and since its Mobil 1 synthetic motorcycle oil, I haven't had a bit of problems. I just wish it would get warm, soon.

Thanks,

Dave
 
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